There is no question that foster parents and adoptive parents truly are a godsend. You provide children in need with a loving home, whether it is temporary until they can return home to their parents, or permanently. You go through so much as a family and as an individual. You make sure that your foster child participates in all of the services he needs (individual therapy, speech therapy, medical appointments) while making sure to keep in contact with his school, attend IEP meetings, Family Team Meetings, providing medical and education documentation to the worker for the child’s file, transporting to visitation (or facilitating virtually), and the list goes on. This is all on top of what you do for your biological family and relatives and taking care of your own needs.
Now that summer is quickly approaching, the kids will be done with school until September. You might find yourself becoming overwhelmed with trying to find things to do to keep them occupied, or struggle with making sure you are taking care of yourself.
Here are some healthy tips for you and the kids to consider this summer:
- Take a break from screen time– the kids have been participating in virtual learning for most if not all of this school year. Instead of movie night, consider having game night playing board games or card games. During the day, do activities that don’t involve computers, tablets, or TV’s- spend time outside at the beach, the park, volunteering in your community, playing catch, kicking the soccer ball around, or a friendly game of bean bag toss!
- Utilize your support system– ask your approved caregivers to spend some quality time with your child for one or two days a week, which will give you some time to get things done; offer to other parents to take turns having the kids spend the day at each house; remember it is perfectly okay to ask for help when you need it
- Utilize community resources, especially summer camps and programs– here are a few links to numerous summer camps and programs in the metro Detroit area for this summer. They include camps for art, sports, technology, and more!
- Make a schedule– dedicate time to do what is needed so you aren’t easily side tracked. Post the schedule in a common area so your child can see what he or she should be doing at that time (playing outside, chores, reading a book, arts and crafts, etc.). Prepare activities and what you will need the night before so you don’t spend a ton of time searching for the soccer ball in the garage when you set that time aside to do some relaxing yoga or journaling while the children play outside.
- Personal time– Set aside time every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes) for you to relax, whatever that means for you- taking a bubble bath, reading, journaling, drinking a cup of tea or coffee while sitting on the porch, taking a walk.
Summer can be hard on parents with the additional stress of keeping your child occupied all day every day. It is important to make sure that you don’t get overly stressed and suffer from burnout. It’s a lot easier to meet the child’s needs when you make sure your own needs are met first. If you are struggling with stress, please attend support groups and reach out to your support system for help.